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I play an online Flight Simulator game (rise of flight).

Have hosted as many as 30 people on at one time, and game played reasonably well, but our numbers are growing, and I want to be able to keep up with them.

My philosophy has always leaned towards "overkill", meaning make sure you have enough of what you need, and them some, but I dont want to go too far overboard on this.

My current connection is 25/25, and I can upgrade to 35/35. Next bundles are 50/20 and 100/20, but the servers upload for this game is more important than his download, so the 35/35 would be best for me.

I have looked into several alternatives for what I might use for a server, and need some insight as to what system would be better over another, and more important, WHY it would be better. And if possible, need to know where I should draw the line, ie, for what I am doing, there is no advantage of getting anything better, cause you wont see any difference.

About the only thing I can tell you about the game that might be a factor is that the game only uses one core for computing "AI" moves. That would be the situation where you are fighting against the computer, and the computer is controlling the plane you are fighting. The system I am building would be for people vs people only.

I have considered 3 alternatives. Note that video is not a factor, as the computer hosting the game doesn't even need a video card. The host computer doesn't show a game window when its hosting the game, all you get is a dialogue window showing the fact that the game is up and running, and number of people online etc etc.

i7 930 with 12GB triple channel, RAID 0

Server board with Xeon 5520 (2.6Ghz) 12GB triple channel RAID 0

Server board with dual 5520 (2.6) 12 GB triple channel RAID 0

I'm pretty much up to snuff with computers, but am in the dark when it comes to Servers. To be honest, really don't know what makes a server a server. From what I understand, a server doesn't so much process a lot of information, but what it does process it does really fast.

Obviously, the dual processor setup is going to be faster than the others, but is it way overkill for a system that is just going to be hosting one game.

And finally, server software over traditional OS? Not sure if this game runs under Linux or not.

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closed as off topic by Tom O'Connor, Jason Berg, Ben Pilbrow, John Gardeniers, EEAA Feb 28 '11 at 1:18

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"but am in the dark when it comes to Servers." - A server is just a computer with more expensive hardware. The expensive hardware has a different brand (Xeon vs Core) which gives them an excuse for charging 4x the price. They also come with redundancy, such as power supplies. Also, Never, ever, ever run RAID0. –  Mark Henderson Feb 27 '11 at 23:55

1 Answer 1

Okay, you'll probably get best result if you host your server in a data center with good bandwidth and connectivity. Make sure you choose a network that all your players have good connectivity too. You can find this out by getting your players to run trace routes to potential hosting providers. Try to find out more about the game servers resource usage, what bandwidth per player do you need, how much cpu and memory do you need for each player. try benchmarking you current server and see how it performs.

As for servers, you can get one as a package from a hosting provider, the bigger it is the more your going to pay. That's why it's important to find out resources requirement, no point renting 16gb of ram when you server never goes over 1gig for instance.

Hopefully your game has a linux server version, this will perform better and cost you less in software licences than anything form the Microsoft world.

I'd also avoid cloud computer of virtual servers, if they are cheaper , but if they can't provide enough resources you'll find you server will lag and you players will be unhappy.

so, to recap, find out what you server needs to support the number of users, shop around for a good hosting deal with good connectivity to your players. Get the biggest server you can afford, if you don't know what you game server usage is.

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